Environmentally responsive dual-targeting nanoparticles: Improving drug accumulation in cancer cells as a way of preventing anticancer drug efflux
Drug targeting and stimuli-responsive drug release are 2 active areas of cancer research and hold tremendous potential in the management of cancer drug resistance. In this study, I addressed this issue and focused on the synthesis and characterization of pH-responsive Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC)-BTN/folic acid/DOX multifunctional nanoparticles aiming to increase drug accumulation in malignancies with both dual active targeting and endosomal drug release properties. Dye-doped silica magnetic-fluorescent composite was constructed by a simple coprecipitation of Fe+2/Fe+3 salts followed by sol-gel formation and dual-targeting function was obtained by conjugating folate and biotin moieties on the silica surface of nanoparticles via an esterification reaction. Doxorubicin was then successfully attached on the amine-functionalized nanoparticles using a pH-sensitive Schiff-base formation. The physicochemical characterization of the structure was performed by dynamic light scattering, zeta potential measurement, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, electron microscopy techniques, and an in vitro pH-dependent release study. Cellular uptake and cytotoxicity experiments demonstrated an enhanced intracellular delivery and reduction of cancer cell viability in the cervical carcinoma HeLa cell line. Furthermore, proapoptotic studies showed that the nanoparticles increased the apoptotic rates within the same cancer cells. The preliminary cell tests confirm the potential of these multifunctional nanoparticles against the development of drug resistance in cancer cells.